You may have wondered if people actually eat “drunken noodles” in Thailand. But heck, you might not care because they’re so darn tasty! Either way, we think you deserve to know the truth. Here’s how to tell whether or not your favorite Thai dishes are authentic.

Look for these delicate, fried vessels filled with chicken, potato, corn, carrot and cream sauce.


So many types of appetizers find their way onto Thai menus. We’ve seen a fair number of restaurants thinking they can get away with fried cheese triangles, but fried appetizers are actually very common in Thai cuisine thanks to the Portuguese influence. Krathong tong can be found at fancier restaurants in Thailand. These delicate fried shells are typically filled with chicken, potato, corn, carrot and a tangy cream sauce — we know, we know, not very Thai-sounding ingredients, but trust us on this one.



A rare find, gai haw bai toey has aromatic pandan leaves wrapped around flavorful marinated chicken.


Few restaurants offer this dish because it calls for pandan leaves, an essential ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. The leaves are wrapped around chicken marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and coriander roots. When fried, the leaves perfume the chicken, imparting a grassy, herbal flavor. Look out for this dish — if a restaurant offers this treat, you can be assured you are in good Thai hands.



This Thai green curry is sweet, spicy and salty, made up of a unique combination of fresh herbs.


Thai green curry is usually eaten with steamed jasmine rice, but if a restaurant offers fermented rice noodles with your curry, you can expect to be eating as you would in Thailand. This curry leads with a sweet flavor, followed by a little heat from chilies and salty umami from the fish sauce. What’s essential to know is that all Thai curries start with different curry pastes made up of entirely different combinations of fresh herbs and spices. Think about that the next time you reach for the takeout menu.



A comforting plate of lad na should not be too sweet, and ought to be served with various condiments.

  1. LAD NA

This is a very comforting dish for Thai people because it’s essentially noodles in a gravy. The gravy gets its flavor from fish sauce, black soy sauce and oyster sauce and shouldn’t be too sweet. If this dish is served with condiments like dry chili flakes, sugar (for you to add as you like), fish sauce and sliced hot chilies in white vinegar, you’re eating authentic lad na.



Make sure your restaurant doesn’t skimp on all of the necessary ingredients for pad thai.


Here’s the thing: There is just no way to make pad thai without all the necessary ingredients, and many restaurants hope you don’t catch them skimping on the pickled radish, bean sprouts, dried shrimp, Chinese garlic chives and crushed peanuts. No shortcuts allowed. If you see carrots or peppers in your noodles, toss them to the side in protest. In Thailand, some prefer to use vermicelli instead of the regular pad thai noodles. Sometimes pad thai is served wrapped in a thin egg crepe, but it’s always served with traditional Thai condiments.



This fragrant curry is usually served over jasmine rice and has a pungent aroma.


Expect to find potatoes, roasted peanuts and chicken thighs in this fragrant curry. The word “Mussaman” in Thai means “Muslim.” Unlike green curry, Gaeng Mussaman is not served with fermented rice noodles but over jasmine rice. Look for a pungent aroma from the combination of coriander, cumin, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. The flavors of this curry are slightly sweet and sour from tamarind sauce.



Devour this whole fried fish with traditional sweet, sour and spicy sauce.


This dish is done right when the fish is fried whole — head, tail and all. Striped bass and grouper are both good candidates for this treatment, topped with a traditional sweet, sour and spicy sauce. A word to the wise: The stuff in the head is delicious.



Look for a street vendor that serves traditional pad kra prao with a crispy fried egg.


Most commonly called basil chicken, beef or shrimp, this dish is a Thai favorite. In Thailand small street vendors serve it over warm jasmine rice, and here’s the key: If your plate is topped with a crispy fried egg, you’re looking at the real deal. The condiments for this dish: fish sauce and chopped chilies.

Civet Coffee

News about a coffee shop in Kanchanaburi, where a cup of civet coffee is sold for 1,500-500 baht, recently stirred excitement among coffee connoisseurs. There, a kilogramme of coffee beans, from farmed civet cats, is priced as high as 100,000 baht.

Interestingly, it is five times more expensive than the famous organic civet coffee by Doi Chang, another homegrown coffee brand from Chiang Rai. Doi Chang’s internationally certified and award-winning wild civet coffee is priced at 20,000 baht per kilogramme.

“The reason why this Kanchanaburi’s coffee comes with such an astronomical price tagis because “it’s has been intricately processed during a long period of time”, said the owner of Rai Khun Ying, the coffee plantation in the limelight.

“Our price is also based on the world market. Today civet coffee is sold in many countries for 50,000-180,000 baht per kilogramme,” he added.

The coffee master explained that, unlike some civet coffee producers, his plantation never force feeds the animals. “We have 20 civet cats. Each of them is provided with four Arabica coffee trees planted within a big cage. Therefore, they are free to eat the berries any time they want.”

But, are Thai consumers willing to pay this exorbitant price? “I can show you a list. Many customers want to buy one kilo at the least, but I have to ask them not to, as I am afraid there will not be enough to go around,” he said.

Rai Khun Ying sells 2-10 cups of civet coffee every day and has an average of two customers buying the civet coffee beans each month.

Originally from Indonesia’s Sumatra islands, civet coffee, aka kopi luwak, is the world’s most expensive coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries, which have been eaten by the Asian Palm civet, a small nocturnal animal that feeds on the berries for their fleshy pulp. The beans then pass through the cat’s digestive system and come out among the faeces.

After being collected, thoroughly washed, sun dried, slightly roasted and brewed, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with distinctive pleasant taste and much less bitterness.

It’s said that the beans taste better because the civets pick only the finest and perfectlymatured fruit. It is also believed that some acids and enzymes inside the animal’s intestine add a chemical fermentation to the beans.

The civet coffee is offered in the market with a variety of flavours and is best recommended to be enjoyed without milk.


I order my coffee from a small independent company in Laos. Called Delta – great coffee and good service. They deliver for free to Ubon and will post from there to anywhere in the world.

In Chiang Rai we can get local grown 100% Arabica beans (often single estate), roasted medium or dark for less than 500 baht a kilo.
Personally I prefer Yoddoi Coffee, love their beans. Doi Chaang (most famous, export brand) sells the same locally at 650 to 700 baht a kilo.

It is easy to ship say 5 kilo by EMS to coffee lovers all over Thailand.
Foreign customers wanting green beans, no issue either based on EMS shipments.

And if people want Arabica beans from Laos, I have contact with a Dutch trader who ships those beans globally out of Thailand, let me know if you need his details.

we settled on this one from Bluekoff which is excellent – order 2kg every couple of months. If you order 5kg at a time would work out at 140/kg, if you order less it’s 150 – completely different league to boncafe (yuk)

I’ll repeat about Bluekoff beng a really good ‘base’ standard thai coffee to compare any other – just be sure to get the A5 roast rather than the lighter and worse roast which currently fashionable.
Doi Chaang is our second in line in the event we forget to order and run out – few shops around across major cities in Thailand and they sell beans as well as being coffee shops.

Another recmmendation for Bluekoff – as you’d expect due to import taxes etc, local coffee is best value nad Bluekoff is very good… I’d recommend the A5 roast rather than the currently more fashionable lighter roast – order 12 packs of 250gm and it’s delivere free in Bangkok,and if i remember it’s around 120 baht for each bag of beans – which is far from ridiculously expensive.
If in a supermarket, then Boncafe is an easy option as it s also thai coffee and ok – the ‘all day’ blend beams are/were my choice rather than any other ( using an espresso machine – don’t get the specific espresso boncafe blend, just the all day is ok)

I buy Sole Cafe at Makro that costs 160 baht for a 500 gram bag of ground coffee. They also have beans.

Go to Makro. The one where I shop has a 2 pack of the Sole Arabica for 300 Bt. ground. They have the beans as well.

I mix it up . Have cafe Tierra or Hillkoff
Only seen tierra at Makro on 108 but tasty

Try this one online.
I have been using Redcliff coffee for 6 years now. It is grown in Chiang Rai and roasted in small batches, and sent EMS to me when I’m running low. At 499 baht per kilo, I purchase two kilos and keep it in the freezer. In my opinion this is the best coffee in Thailand.

when I can’t find it in the supermarket I buy VPP Coffee, a bit more expensive (maybe due to the packaging used).

If you find yourself in Lao check out the coffee sold in the shops. Stock up if doing a visa run. My favorite is Lao Mountain brand, there’s a few others too. In Thailand I go with Duang Dee and Moccona green package.

Over the many years of owning a Bialetti moka pot, I’ve tried a variety of beans…..Bon Cafe, Starbucks, several hill tribe beans, Dao beans from Laos, beans from Vietnam, and Zolito Dark South Blend beans from Makro. Although it’s been a while since I’ve had them, the Dao beans (red bag) from Laos were great……but can’t find a source for them now. Second up….the Zolito beans from Makro. I believe about 185 Baht for 500g…….4 times a day for the past few years. Never a bad cup.

I have switched to Ratika , from Hillkoff , whole beans in a wide variety of roasts for the amazing price of 145B for 500 grams. The bag says Thai coffee manufactured by Chao Thai Pu Kao. To mee it tastes better than coffee sold at twice the price.

It depends on where your at as far as walk ins

Here in Chiangmai we have many like, Asama, Cottontree, Ponganes, Fieow , Aka Ahma etc

Where in Thailand are you?

Bangkok has many too although I have not been I have seen their links on FB

This list of 10 also just came out

Places like Kaizen look great

Pacamara sells many beans their site shows blends but in store has single country beans too

As does Bluekoff

Espressoman has Thai

and Imported

But really so many more too….

Above is just a sample

Some smaller guys are great roasters & all of these coffee’s of course you can get a day after roasting

so need to let them “rest” 3-5 days to out gas before use as they are that fresh

If you find good coffee in a shop be sure to check as some shops do keep it till sold

No need to buy coffee older than a couple weeks here as so many fresh roast

But really best bet is for you to search specialty coffee Thailand for instance on

google then find them on Face Book as they all have pages & like each other so mention link etc.

Price wise very good Thai beans from ChiangMai, ChiangRai, Nan etc goes for about 200 baht for 250 grams

Imports are of course more due to the tax so expect to pay various prices from 200 for 100gr

or 350-400 baht for 250 gr etc

But even that is quite reasonable & about the same prices as big roasters in the USA

Now Thailand has many good roasters..just try some & see.

For most days a good Thai bean is great..But of course nice to have a nice cup of Ethiopian, Kenyan etc

too wink.png

There is over 50 variations of fresh coffee beans: I’ve bought a lot alreeady.


Go to


and search “bluekoff”


You can’t read the reviews any more without subscribing ( I read them years ago and why I heard about Bluekoff) – you can see the A4+A5 review getting 90+ points ( 92 in Jan 2015 ) for that blend. I prefer the A5 alone… but note the actual price is around 140 bht per 250gm if you buy one… buy a dozen packs delivered free to your door and it goes down further around 125baht / 250gm.

At 800-1,500 feet above sea level, located in the Northern Chiang Mai Region of Thailand, Paradise Mountain Organic Farmlies within the virgin forest. Thousands of indigenous trees create a canopy of shade for young coffee seedlings and a resting and nesting habitat for local and migratory birds. Today, if you were to view our farm from above you would never know there was a farm of any kind in this undisturbed forest. It is here that we grow 100% world class single farm, organic Arabica coffee.

The company is named “Akha Ama Coffee” because of one mother (“Ama” is mother in the Akha language) in the Akha village of Maejantai, whose vision and trust in the future had convinced the people of her village to combine their strengths to not only produce, but also process and market their own coffee. Her portrait now graces the Akha Ama logo.

DoiTung coffee is single-origin, harvested only from the hills of Doi Tung. It is shade grown and undergoes careful processing starting from the selection of coffee species to roasting and packaging. DoiTung coffee is free from toxins and ochratoxin. (emailed 27/9)

Duang Dee Hill Tribe Coffee is a small “micro coffee roasting company”, works together with remote farmers and purchases the small amounts of coffee, that each farmer produces and then blend and hand roast it, to produce the finest “Organically Grown” coffee in Thailand.

i am just about to order 5kilo’s of mixed from them,delivered on the coach within the home,been buying from them the past 6yrs.
unique strong,expresso,classic taste,extra smooth,and one other.1, 90bht.bus fare.

053 – 219 361 (don’t read mail)

In Canada, our team is built up of a small group of hard workers who care about the impact they are making. In the last nine years the evolution of our company has provided our growers with a better standard of living, more diverse commodities for trade and the ability to contribute to other hill tribes through their coffee academy and foundation.

Our coffee is rapidly becoming recognized as one of the finest coffees in the world with a name synonymous to high ethical and sustainable standards.

Landoy Coffee 087 014 5070 500g sacks
I confess I am a bit of a coffee snob. I enjoy drinking fresh roasted and ground coffee each morning, and insist on grinding the beans myself. I wrestled with the coffee thing for a couple years after arriving here (Phitsanulok). At first I could not even find whole beans, then discovered Doi Tung at Lotus, but at 250 baht for 200 grams, the price was ridiculous. Also, it had been on the shelf several weeks since roasting and was not fresh. I drove up to Chiang Rai and went to the Doi Tung facility, got their contact info and began buying 5 kg at a time (their minimum) from them, but it came routed through Bangkok. It was still fresher than the off-the-shelf stuff, but at 700 baht/kg, it was still expensive, too. Then one day about two years ago I was driving north from Phitsanulok and stopped at a little roadside hill tribe coffee shop called Landoy Coffee. It was in Uttaridit or somewhere.
The coffee was delicious, so I asked about buying beans by mail, she said yes, and I have been one happy coffee drinker ever since. Their coffee is nothing less than outstanding. They grow it somewhere in Chiang Rai. It has had a couple of price increases since I started doing business with them (was 350 baht/kg), but is still a bargain at 450 baht/kg (for Thailand, anyway). The beans are large and uniform (number 2). It comes packed in convenient 500 gram Mylar sacks, and I order 4 kg. each time (8 sacks). They send it by post collect, which costs about 200 baht. When I open the last 500 gram sack (must ask for this size when ordering), I have my wife who speaks Thai call them to place another order. I highly recommend these people. Their quality has proven consistent and they have proven themselves completely reliable. They tend to roast a little dark, so if you order a medium roast, it will be nearer medium/dark, which is perfect for me. After you order the first time, you can adjust to your tastes. The beans are roasted to order, so they are extremely fresh when they arrive — much fresher than anything you will ever find on a store shelf. I have attached their business card. Just tell them the farang named John from Phitsanulok sent you. If you feel four kilos is too much, they may be willing to ship three, or perhaps you can share an order with a friend.
Some people worry about the coffee staying fresh. If the Mylar sacks are UNOPENED, you can (must) freeze them and they are perfectly preserved. NEVER open a frozen sack as moisture will immediately condense on the beans, and moisture is the enemy of coffee beans. After the sack reaches room temperature, I open it and put the contents in a Tupperware container that holds exactly a half kilo. NEVER refrigerate this Tupperware, as moisture will condense on the beans when you open it. Leave it at room temperature. Half a kilo lasts me about a 5-7 days. When I fill the grinder with the last of the coffee from the Tupperware, I take another sack out of the freezer to thaw for the next morning. Using this method, the last sack is as tasty as the first.
One more thing. For the best coffee, get a burr grinder like the Krups sold by Central World and ThaiMart. Well worth every baht if you like great coffee. Blade grinders get the coffee overheated during grinding and do not grind uniformly; the coffee tastes like shit. If you use a blade grinder and wonder why your coffee is not that great, well, it’s the grinder.

However, you’ll also find good Thai-grown Arabica coffee in supermarkets near Rajdamri, such as those in Central Chidlom or CentralWorld. Thai brands include Doi Tung Coffee, Duang Dee Hill Tribe Coffee, HillCoff, and Zolito. Outside supermarkets, you may come across the fair-trade Doi Chang Coffee, which comes a plantation that is part-owned by the Akha tribal people in Chiang Rai.

There are several regions in Thailand, and indeed some of the surrounding countries, that are beyond ideal for growing coffee. The highlands of Kanchanaburi and the mountains of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are the regions most known for their coffee at present (and given the geography I don’t expect that to ever change). I have recently begun seeing some coffee from the deep south too, though it’s fairly new to the scene and I’ve not had enough of it yet to say anything – but I will be getting around to that soon as a cafe specializing in southern coffee has just opened up at Seacon Square, just a few minutes from my fortress of solitude.

Over the last ten years since I first started exploring the country, the coffee industry has exploded. There are now a wide range of Thai brands offering an even wider range of very special and unique coffees. There is even a very special, very limited, and unbelievably expensive coffee that is fed to elephants, digested by elephants, and then collected from the elephants “leavings”. Still intact remarkably, but apparently profoundly improved. Similar to a coffee they produce with some kind of tree creature down in Indonesia. I’ll do a whole piece on that process very soon.

Back to brands we can all enjoy…

The Coffee Bean is one widespread and very popular cafe and coffee brand. The cafes are great (fantastic baked goods, it’s where my birthday cake came from this year), but the beans are where the real excitement is. You can find Coffee Bean grounds or whole beans for sale at a number of retailers such as Tesco, Villa Market, Tops, and places like this. 250 grams of whole beans start at about 150 baht.

thai_coffeeAnother fantastic, and long established, brand is Aroma. They have a massive range of blends and roasts, at a wide range of prices. I’ve not found one that wasn’t delicious. You can find them all over the place.

Doi is a very famous brand, with some really excellent beans. Had a bag of their French roast last month and I’ve honestly been disappointed with everything else since. Very easy to find, and they have their own cafes.

Finca De Barn is a very interesting company based in Kanchanaburi, where growing and processing is overseen by a single man. Their stuff isn’t as widely available yet, though you can purchase it online and they are beginning to show up more and more frequently around Bangkok at various food and beverage events. They bring with them a nitrogen coffee press that produces an incredible cup of cold brewed coffee. I’ll do an article focusing on these guys too, as the flavors they are producing are unique not only to Thailand but to the world. And this is if you’re brewing with hot water like a caveman (very much like I do). Take for example a hopped coffee, if you can imagine such a thing. I’m having a hard time doing that so will just have to try some.

thai_growing_coffeeThe last one I’ll mention is the Duang Dee Hill Tribe coffee. It’s not great, at least not compared to a lot of the other things being produced here now. This is evident even before brewing; the beans themselves reveal much of their background by sight alone. That being said, it’s not bad at all. In fact, I’d call it pretty good. This might not sound like glowing praise, but at half the cost of the least expensive of the other brands I’ve listed and with the money going more or less directly back to the hill tribes who grow it, it’s worth every satang. It’s available in Bangkok at Foodland, Tops, Villa Market, and a handful of other locations. I like going to Foodland to buy it late at night, and having a midnight snack at the Took Lae Dee diner thing in there. Usually ice cream and something fried, with coffee of course.

However, you’ll also find good Thai-grown Arabica coffee in supermarkets near Rajdamri, such as those in Central Chidlom or CentralWorld. Thai brands include Doi Tung Coffee, Duang Dee Hill Tribe Coffee, HillCoff, and Zolito. Outside supermarkets, you may come across the fair-trade Doi Chang Coffee, which comes a plantation that is part-owned by the Akha tribal people in Chiang Rai.